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Thread: System Planning...

  1. #1
    Newbie jyopp's Avatar
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    Lightbulb System Planning...

    I have a 2002 Buick Regal LS and am planning my CarPC system. Here's a pic of where it will go:


    I plan to put in a Liliput 7" Screen, mounted permanently in the frame of an old cassette deck from a similar car, painted and made pretty and all, and mount a slot-load DVD drive just above the monitor if space permits. I'll be using a spare housing from digitalww.com and I plan to trim around the edges of the original plastic wherever possible.

    Question 1: Does anyone know what kind of performance I should expect from a USB2.0 -> IDE adapter versus extending the IDE Cables? The DVD-ROM would need to be at least a few feet from the mobo.

    The nano-ITX boards are just too slow coming out. Unless I can find a new reserve of patience and put up with the factory stereo a few more months, It looks like the system will be built around a VIA EPIA-ME60000. I like the fanless design and lower power, and the price is about $50 better than the M10000. Question 2: Is the 600MHz Eden strong enough for DivX playback and a Nintendo 64 emulator?

    The PC will live inside the dash of the car, behind the temperature controls, in a custom housing with its 2.5" Hard Drive. Until I can get a bigger drive, I'll reuse an old 10GB drive from my MP3 player.

    Sound will be handled by a SoundBlaster Audigy2 NX (USB 2.0, bus-powered) in the trunk, on a USB extension cable, mounted right next to the amplifiers' inputs. It will be sending surround sound into 4.1ch and 2.0ch amps -- I'm doing this so I can use 6-inch cables to connect the Audigy & amps, and get close to zero interference. The second amp will run the rear speakers, and a pair of 3 1/2"'s in the dash will be the center channel...
    Amp Layout

    I'm strongly considering the Opus 90W power supply. It's VERY expensive, all things considered, but seems to do its job a lot better than other available DC-DC PSU's. Question 3: Can someone tell me if a capacitor would be suitable for crank-cutoff protection? 0.5F Cap -> ITPS -> Morex 80W Wide-Input might work. I've seen people suggest extra 'tank' batteries, but that's just not very elegant IMO, and doesn't work very far toward saving money.

    I haven't worked out the software yet. I'm very tempted by the LinuxBIOS project's fast boot times, but I'm concerned about finding a good interface package and GPS mapping software for Linux. MediaCar is good, and I like the skinning of MediaEngine; what are some of the performance issues with either?

    The Car PC will have bluetooth, to talk to my Sony-Ericsson T610. Question 4: What bluetooth adapter(s) can I use with the phone's headset profile for an integrated speakerphone? I can run the mic input from the onboard sound and use the Audigy for output, provided I have drivers that support it.

  2. #2
    Raw Wave rando's Avatar
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    1) I've found the USB2->IDE adaptors works as well (and in some cases better) than direct IDE for CD/DVD drives. This is true only AFTER you boot into windows. During installation of Windows (i.e. Access to the CD/DVD is via BIOS routines), performance is truly awful.

    2) Dunno.

    3) Save yourself some grief. Just get the Opus.

    4) I'm not sure but during your planning be aware that the Audigy NX USB shares its line-in and mic connections. You can use one or the other, not both. As you said, you can always fall back to the on-board audio if you need an extra set of connections.

  3. #3
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    You would not be able to power the system off of the cap during crank. Thats atleast 3 seconds of no power. The pc will be useing atleast 5 amps. .5f will not be enough. Save your self the giref and get a small (5 amp hour?) Lead Acid bat and some strong diodes, and hook that up to the Opius

  4. #4
    FLAC Chairboy's Avatar
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    ...or get the Opus.

    Welcome to the group! I have a 1999 Buick Regal LS, same exact dash & stuff as yours. I really like the head unit, so I decided to keep it for now. I mounted my Lilliput on the dash using the stand that comes with it. I pulled the dash panel that covers the HU off and reached in and set my GPS mouse on a metal frame rail that goes under the dash, and I have great reception (and it holds itself to it via GPS).

    I put my Opus under the 'Traction Control' button in the center console, along with my BR-3 OBD-II unit. I have an M10000 in the center compartment right behind that.

    I look forward to seeing your finished install!

  5. #5
    FLAC ppgt94's Avatar
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    Q2 answer: Most likely. I can do divx on my pII 266 Compaq. I'm not sure about n64 emu.

  6. #6
    Newbie jyopp's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help, guys.

    I did some math on the capacitor and, while it's probably not a bad idea for other reasons, Geking is right -- If the cap charges to 12.5V and the engine drops to 7.5V during crank, it'd take <0.5s for the cap to discharge below 11V if the PC is drawing 5A @ 12V. Under those conditions, even it the car charged the capacitor to 15V, it would fall past 11V in 1 second.

    The Opus looks like a great idea -- one more question I can't find anywhere, though. Does it have smooth turn-on leads for the amplifiers like the Carnetix? The website mentions something about a 0.75A turn-on lead option for the power supply, but I can't find anwhere that sells it.

    Has anyone had a good experience installing XP Embedded on an IDE Flash stub? The transfer rates and everything look great, but I'm wondering if it's really that much better than an IDE->CF adapter... If the EPIA boards can boot off USB2.0, it looks like a USB flash drive would be an even better solution.

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